Overview

Calaf


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

(Puccini: Turandot). Ten. Son of the Tartar King Timur. He sees Princess Turandot when she has come to witness the execution of a Persian prince who has failed to answer her three riddles—the penalty for failure is death. The prize for the prince who succeeds is Turandot's hand in marriage. Calaf falls in love with Turandot as soon as he sees her and is determined to win her. Because he fears for his life from his father's enemies, Calaf announces himself as the Unknown Prince and strikes the gong to indicate his intention of taking part in the contest. His father and the slave‐girl Liù beg him to desist, but he will not be deterred. He answers the first two riddles put to him by Turandot. She asks the third question: ‘What is the ice that sets you on fire?’. He answers: ‘Turandot’. Now that he has won, Turandot is anxious to be released from the obligation to marry him. He offers her one last chance—she must before morning discover his name. If she succeeds, he is prepared to die. If she fails, she is his. He knows that only he will eventually reveal his name to her. He refuses bribes from her ministers and even threats leave him unmoved. His only concern is when he sees his blind father, who was seen speaking to Calaf, arrested and threatened by Turandot with torture. However, Liù intervenes, telling everyone that she alone knows the answer, and then killing herself with a dagger. Calaf blames Turandot for the slave‐girl's death, and then kisses the princess. She responds to his kiss, overcoming her coldness. He tells her his name—now his life is in her hands. The crowds assemble and Turandot addresses them—the Unknown Prince's name is Love. Arias: Non piangere, Liù (‘Do not weep, Liù’); Nessun dorma (‘None shall sleep’). This is the last of Puccini's great tenor roles and all the famous Italianate tenors have sung it, including Giovanni Martinelli, Richard Tauber, Giacomo Lauri‐Volpi, James McCracken, Franco Corelli, Mario del Monaco, Jussi Björling, José Carreras, and Plácido Domingo. The lovely aria Nessun dorma became world‐famous even to those who had never heard an opera in their lives, when it was recorded by Luciano Pavarotti as the theme song for the football World Cup in Italy in 1990. Created (1926) by Miguel Fleta.

Subjects: Opera.


Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.